Rubbish is left strewn around Glenmalure
THE good weather has seen a jump in people enjoying the great outdoors but inconsiderate campers are spoiling the stunning Glenmalure Valley by leaving behind rubbish and abandoned camping sites after they depart.
The prolonged warm weather has resulted in a huge number of visitors camping in Glenmalure, but some campers are leaving without bothering to clean-up after themselves, prompting the local community to remind visitors of the importance of the natural and built heritage of the unique valley.
It’s proving particularly frustrating for the Glenmalure Pure Mile Group, who won Best Pure Mile in 2015 and 2016 and last year were presented with a special ‘Winning Back the Valley’ award.
Ian Davis, Project Manager of Pure, sympathises with the group considering all the hard work they have put into keeping the valley tidy and litter-free.
‘Our very first clean-up in 2015 resulted in the removal of over six tonnes of illegal dumping from the valley,’ said Mr Davis. ‘Members of the local Pure group met with campers and explained to them why it is so important to keep the valley clean and the campers proved to be very accommodating.
‘They started educating the campers and it made a huge difference.
‘I use Glenmalure as a case study of just what sort of progress can be made when people take pride in their area and have a hands-on approach. That’s why it is so disappointing and frustrating to see a minority of visitors to the area undermining all of this hard work.’
Recent clean-ups have removed abandoned tents, bottles, cans, barbecues, meat wrappers, nappies and even a child’s potty.
Last Tuesday, Pure were notified of the need for a clean-up of Glenmalure and between 40 to 50 bags of rubbish were removed the following day. An increase in novice campers seems to be the main cause.
‘The great weather has brought a huge amount of people to the valley,’ explained Mr Davis. ‘A lot of people are avoiding the beaches because they are so busy and are going camping instead, A lot of these people wouldn’t be frequent campers. They are leaving behind barbecues, coolers and complete camping sets. They basically walk in, see the camp site, put their tent up and then leave the whole lot behind when they are leaving. You have completely abandoned camp sites where it looks like people have just disappeared.’
Visitors are also reminded that there is currently a red fire warning and that no fires should be lit. A number of fires have already occurred, and it is evident from photos of the recent clean-up that fires were lit at a number of sites.
‘It is extremely dangerous to set a fire in conditions like this. The grass is already all scorched. You could throw a match on the ground and the while valley could go. Surely the last thing people want is to see the valley gone,’ said Ian.
Peter McGloin from Coillte also pointed out: ‘We continue to work with the Pure Project and all of the Glenmalure Pure Mile Group and are determined to combat all types of illegal dumping in this upland area.’
Pure continue to engage with a number of special interest groups and businesses through their Clean-up the Uplands campaign. A recent clean-up of the Lacken Sorrel Road in west Wicklow by the Reservoir Cogs Cycling Club in Blessington saw volunteers spending their Saturday litter picking the entire road, resulting in the removal of a large number of bags of rubbish, including, a vacuum cleaner, paint pots, electric cable and chipboard.
Vagabond Tours Ltd have adopted the magnificent valley floor of Knockree in the Glencree Valley, a popular camping destination, which unfortunately is also prone to regular littering by irresponsible visitors and campers. The group organised a number of clean-ups to tackle the problem.
Rubbish and camp fires left abandoned at the Glenmalure Valley.